Ofsted blow for ‘inadequate’ Pearson

An Ofsted inspection has graded Pearson’s apprenticeships as inadequate, judging that its provision quality had declined “significantly”.

The inspection, which was conducted in December, found no key strengths in the provider’s apprenticeship offering, and also deemed its leadership, quality of teaching, personal development, behaviour and welfare and outcomes for learners all to be ineffective.


No improvement

Pearson’s last Ofsted visit in 2012 resulted in a rating of good, but identified weaknesses that needed to be tackled. These had not been improved, the report said, and managers had instead “allowed the quality of the provision to decline significantly”.

The report, published on Wednesday, said: “Senior leaders and managers have failed to place sufficient emphasis on the key components of the apprenticeship programme.

“Managers were unable to provide any evidence that apprentices receive the required off-the-job training, and the prioritisation of English and mathematics is insufficient.

“As a result, apprentices who are rapidly approaching their expected completion date have yet to receive any training in these areas.”


‘Disappointing’ outcome

Pearson provides apprenticeships through Pearson TQ, part of its work-based learning arm. A spokesperson said: “Pearson TQ took over this service in summer 2015 and had developed and started implementing a clear action plan with leaders and managers in Pearson before the inspection which led to this report.

“This has already seen some learners complete their programmes. We take this report very seriously and are making further improvements in our programme so that our apprentices receive the highest possible standard of learning and support.

“We are disappointed with this report and will be challenging some of the comments, which we feel do not accurately reflect the improvements that have already been made since Pearson TQ took over management of the service.”

The Ofsted report also criticised the group’s safeguarding, saying that “leaders and managers do not know if apprentices are safe”.